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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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own patterns of natural increase. Differential size and growth, and the perception of this, are important political facts in all political systems, and perhaps particularly in democratically oriented systems. Population policy may be explicitly or implicitly employed to extend the dominance of one ethnic group over another, or to extend political control over an area not previously well populated, or more generally to influence public policy decisions in discriminatory ways. Intergroup relations may be exacerbated by the migration that generally accompanies population growth and economic development. If low-fertility groups advocate a general policy of low fertility, the policy may be perceived by the targets of the policy to be politically motivated!
From an international viewpoint, political or other social elites may see population growth as a measure of the strength of the nation. Military manpower is still regarded by some as an index of political power despite the lessons of current history. Thus one consequence of rapid population growth may be to stir dreams of political, military, or economic expansionism.
Implications of Changing Age Structure
An outstanding characteristic of a rapidly growing population is the tendency of different age groups to increase at different rates, with the younger ages expanding at a greater rate than the older ages. Conversely, a dampening of the growth rate affects the younger first and only later the older ages. There are three reasons for this pattern of increase by age: The largest decline in mortality is registered in the age group with the highest mortality level, the infants. Second, fertility changes are by definition modifications of the ratio of those aged 0 to those in the childbearing span. Finally, any change at younger ages is passed on with the passage of time to the reproductive ages and is reflected back through the process of reproduction.
A stationary population with high fertility and high mortality is a young population. With mortality decline and the resulting positive rate of growth, the population becomes younger—the more so the higher the rate of growth. When fertility declines, the population becomes older, reaching a maximum age when it becomes stationary at a low mortality level. Thus the typical sequence in a demographic transition is that a young population becomes even younger as a consequence of mortality decline, but then becomes older as a consequence of fertility decline.
This transformation of the age structure has many important ramifications for the body politic. Different age groups make different kinds of demands upon the state—for health services for children and mothers, for the various levels of public education, for employment opportunities for entrants into the labor force, for medical services and social security for the old. For exarrmle. with an increase in the number of school-aee children, the sovern-oer caoita costs of sovern-shine returns: it would notelated collective consumption needs would stay largely unchanged for the better part of a decade, and